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  • The greenest cars on the market — electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids — have attracted very few buyers so far. But instead of scaling back, major automakers are eager to bring more battery-powered models to their showrooms...G.M., the biggest American automaker, on Tuesday said it would begin production later this year of the Cadillac ELR, a luxury version of the Chevrolet Volt, the company’s current extended-range plug-in hybrid sedan.

    New York Times
  • The tiny black particles released into the atmosphere by burning fuels are far more powerful agents of global warming than had previously been estimated, some of the world’s most prominent atmospheric scientists reported in a study issued on Tuesday....The new estimate of black carbon’s heat-trapping power is about double the one made in the last major report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in 2007. And the researchers said that if indirect warming effects of the particles are factored in, they may be trapping heat at almost three times the previously estimated rate.

    New York Times
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    The two largest Japanese airlines said Wednesday that they would ground their fleets of Boeing 787 aircraft after one operated by All Nippon Airways made an emergency landing in western Japan, heightening concerns about the safety of the U.S. manufacturer’s latest plane....The emergency landing followed a string of problems in the past month with the Boeing 787, known as the Dreamliner, including a battery fire, fuel leaks and a cracked cockpit window. All Nippon said the problems Wednesday involved the same lithium-ion batteries that caught fire last week in Boston on a Dreamliner operated by Japan Airlines.

    New York Times
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     The trucking industry is challenging rules that Los Angeles adopted five years ago to reduce air pollution from trucks at the nation's busiest port.

    LA Times
  • A special panel of scientists convened by the government issued Friday a 1,146-page draft report that details in dozens of ways how climate change is already disrupting the health, homes and other facets of daily American life. It warns that those disruptions will increase in the future....The blunt report takes a global environmental issue and explains what it means for different U.S. regions, for various sectors of the economy and for future generations....The report, written by team of 240 scientists, is required every four years by law. The first report was written in 2000. 

    Associated Press
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    Personal Rapid Transit is probably best described as a hybrid between the private car and public transit, with some more familiar elements of the taxi and elevator thrown in. Picture, in short, a pod car. Engineers and researchers (even Google!) have been fantasizing for several decades now about the concept, which would personalize public transit in small vehicles – perhaps running on or hanging from an elevated track – that would transport you straight to your destination without any of the stops and delays of a bus route, or without the cost of a taxi ride.

    Atlantic Cities
  • Encouraged by strong on-time performance rates and a new commitment to train cleanliness, BART passengers indicated robust support for the regional transit system in the latest customer satisfaction survey. Of the riders surveyed by BART, 84 percent said they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the agency, an increase of 2 percent from when the last poll was conducted in 2010. Just 1 percent of the riders said they were very dissatisfied with BART.

    SF Examiner
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    Installed in 1970, Muni’s current train management system is disjointed and obsolete. When problems arise, it can take longer for technicians and engineers to pinpoint the issue than to actually fix the glitch, according to John Haley, Muni’s director of transit...A new $24.1 million communications network is up for approval today with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, Muni’s governing body.

    SF Examiner
  • Supervisor Scott Wiener hasn't had the best luck lately convincing his board colleagues that Muni is in desperate, desperate need of more money to make its service more reliable, so on Tuesday he plans to take a new tack: link any disruption in transit service with cold, hard cash. "When a train breaks down in the subway, it doesn't happen in a vacuum," Wiener said... "Multiple Muni lines are affected, workers are delayed, commercial activity slows, and our economy suffers. These disruptions discourage people from using Muni, which results in increased vehicle congestion and negative environmental impacts. By quantifying the effects of Muni meltdowns, we will see how essential a well-funded, efficient transportation system is to our city's vitality."

    SF Chronicle
  • ...Sudden swings in the price of gas have become an ugly fact of life in the Golden State. Last October's run-up was the worst to date, with California's average price for a gallon of regular jumping 51 cents in less than two weeks to $4.67, a new record....Energy economist Severin Borenstein suggests that if a refinery fire or other problem cuts gas supplies in California, let the oil companies sell out-of-state gas here. Make them pay the state a fee for doing so, and use the cash to cut air pollution in other ways.

    SF Chronicle